Lab 7: Molecular Biology by 0eTO5TjJ

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 2

									                                           Lab 4, Appendix 1: The Polymerase Chain Reaction


             APPENDIX 1: THE POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION

        The polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, is a technique that allows for the
amplification of a specific target DNA sequence within a larger population of DNA (such
as the human genome). Using PCR, picogram quantities of target DNA can be amplified
to yield microgram quantities for subsequent biochemical analysis. In order to perform
PCR, the DNA sequence flanking both sides of the target must be known. (Note that
PCR cannot be used as a substitute for cloning unknown genes!) This information is used
to synthesize short oligonucleotides (single-stranded DNA, ~20 nucleotides long) that are
complementary to these flanking sequences. These oligonucleotides will be used as
“primers” to prime replication of the target DNA by DNA polymerase. (Note in the
diagrams below that these primers are complementary to opposite strands of the double
helix and thus their 3’ ends point towards each other when annealed to their
complementary sequence.). It should be easy to follow the first cycle of the replication
process. The target DNA is denatured into single strands by incubation at 94C, the
primers are allowed to anneal to their complementary sequences by reducing the
temperature to 60C, and finally the temperature is elevated to 72C to allow DNA
polymerase to replicate the target by extending from the 3’ end of the primers. (The
exact temperatures for each of these steps vary between different PCR protocols and are
dependent on the nucleotide composition of the primers being used. The temperatures
given here are those used in our ABO gene PCR protocol.)
                                                     region of
                                                    target gene
        5’                                                                   3’
        3’                                                                   5’
                                           denature
        5’                                                                   3’

        3’                                                                   5’
                                          anneal primers to sequences
                                          flanking gene
        5’                                                                   3’
                                                                  3’    5’
                                          5’        3’
        3’                                                                   5’
                                           extend from primers with
                                           DNA polymerase
        5’                                                                   3’
        3’                                                              5’
                                          5’                                 3’
        3’                                                                   5’


        What has just been described is one cycle of replication. The “chain reaction”
part of PCR involves repeated cycles of replication, involving repeated denaturation,
annealing, and extension steps, so that the replication products of one cycle become
templates for replication in the next cycles. The result is an exponential increase in the
amount of target DNA. The next cycle of PCR goes as follows:

                                               33
                                          Lab 4, Appendix 1: The Polymerase Chain Reaction

                                            denature
          5’                                                                     3’

          3’                                                               5’

                                           5’                                    3’

          3’                                                                     5’

                                            anneal primers
          5’                                                      3’       5’    3’
                                           5’         3’
          3’                                                               5’

                                           5’                                     3’
                                                                  3’       5’
           3’                              5’         3’
                                                                                  5’

                                                extend from primers with
                                                DNA polymerase
           5’                                                               5’    3’
                                            5’
           3’                                                               5’

                                            5’                                    3’
                                                                            5’
           3’                               5’
                                                                                  5’


       After two cycles of PCR, we have four double-stranded DNA molecules
containing the gene we are amplifying. After another round, we would double that
number again to eight. On your own, diagram the steps and products of another cycle of
PCR.

        This procedure could be performed using DNA polymerase from E. coli and by
transferring the reaction tube to different water baths to achieve the various temperature
shifts. However, this would be a very laborious procedure because you would have to
shift tubes between water baths once every minute for 2-4 hours. It would also be very
costly because every time you denatured the DNA at 94C, you would also irreversibly
inactivate the polymerase, and would have to add fresh enzyme prior to the next
extension step. Despite these inherent problems, PCR has gained widespread usage
because of two developments that alleviate these problems. First, automated temperature
cyclers (thermocyclers) alleviate the need of excessive manipulations by the investigator.
Second, the use of a heat-stable DNA polymerase alleviates the need to add fresh enzyme
prior to each extension step. This heat-stable polymerase was isolated from the
thermophilic bacterium Thermus aquaticus and is called Taq DNA Polymerase. A single
aliquot of Taq DNA Polymerase added at the beginning of the protocol will remain active
through at least 30 cycles of PCR.


                                           34

								
To top